J Korean Med Assoc.  2020 May;63(5):286-297. 10.5124/jkma.2020.63.5.286.

Cause-of-death statistics in 2018 in the Republic of Korea

  • 1Vital Statistics Division, Statistics Korea, Daejeon, Korea
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, Myongji Hospital, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea
  • 3Department of Parasitology and Institute of Medical Education, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea


This study aimed to present and analyze the causes of death in the Korean population in 2018 through an analysis of cause-of-death data from Statistics Korea, which are classified based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision and the Korean Standard Classification of Diseases and Causes of Death. The total number of deaths was 298,820, reflecting an increase of 13,286 (4.7%) from 2017. The crude death rate was 582.5 per 100,000 population, which was an increase of 25.1 (4.5%) from 2017. The 10 leading causes of death, in order, were malignant neoplasms, heart diseases, pneumonia, cerebrovascular diseases, intentional self-harm, diabetes mellitus, liver diseases, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer disease, and hypertensive diseases. Within the category of malignant neoplasms, the top five leading organs of involvement were the lung, liver, colon, stomach, and pancreas. Colon cancer was ranked as the third leading cause of death among malignant neoplasms. The most notable characteristics of the 2018 cause-of-death statistics were the ranking of pneumonia as the third leading cause of death, the inclusion of Alzheimer disease in the top 10 causes of death, and the exclusion of transport accidents from the 10 leading causes of death, which is a result that has not been seen since comparable statistics were first published in 1983. These changes reflect the increase of people over 65 years of age, who are vulnerable to infectious diseases.


Alzheimer disease; Cause of death; Colonic neoplasms; Pneumonia; Republic of Korea
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